New Edition of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out and more

As usual, my absence on this blog means I’ve been busy someplace else. While I’ve been getting feedback on the novel I finished a couple months back, and digesting it, I’ve been completing revisions for Menucha Publishing on the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo. (I’ve also been brainstorming new titles — the working title was unpopular, to say the least.) G-d-willing, that book will be out later this year. And I also revised and created a new cover for my book, Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. I decided the old one wasn’t engaging enough, so I put a girl on the cover who could pass for Mazal looking right at the viewer. I think it makes a big difference. What do you think? Mazal's new cover

And, of course, there was Purim…and Pesach.

Basically, it’s been busy.

Anyway, I’ve got some goals for the next few months. Continue reading

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Glixman in a Fix on Approach: Got the Cover for My Next Book & Checked the Proofs

glixman31Yesterday, I turned in my comments on the proof for my next book, the novelization of Glixman in a Fix. It’s weird reading something I wrote a couple years ago, already. I think the manuscript is in pretty good shape. We’re IY”H expecting the book to hit stores just before Pesach.

The good news is that I made myself laugh more than once, and I still find the characters charming after all this time. When I read the last page, I contemplated writing a sequel just so I could hang out a little longer with Mendel, Ari, Ilan, and Yehudis.

The bad news is that friends and colleagues are now telling me how they all want to buy my book. This leads to a potentially awkward conversation.

Some of the aforementioned friends and colleagues primarily have read my adult work. They read my essays in Tablet, my fiction in Inyan. I think that many of them expect me to sound the same in this book…but since the initial audience was so different, I sound very different in Glixman. I’m kinda afraid how they will react to it.

Readers out there, have you read something from a favorite author that just didn’t strike your fancy?

And writers, have you written something and then felt the desire to warn your usual readers away from it?

Need a little reading material for those long Yom Tov and Shabbos afternoons?

cropped-sliding-doors-cover.jpg

Spring is here, and with it come holidays and long Shabbos afternoons. If you have a tween or a teen who likes to spend them reading, check out my two most recent books!

SLIDING DOORS and other stories

(11-16 year olds)

While home sick, a teen interrupts a burglary in progress…

A mysterious stranger offers a young man an extra hour, for one-time use…

Slipping into an alternate universe, a girl discovers a few surprises…

A teenager lacking social skills adjusts to his new yeshiva…

Sliding Doors and other Stories features 17 of my finest stories for tweens and teens and one essay in a single volume sure to please old fans and new ones.

mazal coverMAZAL’S LUCK RUNS OUT

(8-11 year olds)

Do you think of yourself as lucky? Mazal always did – that is, until her luck ran out.

Mazal Tehrani is an 11 year-old girl living in Los Angeles’s bustling Jewish community. Her first name means “luck,” and she’s always been just that: lucky. Mazal has great parents, adorable siblings, and her best friend, Bluma, really is the best! But when one thing goes wrong after another, she starts to wonder, is she lucky after all?

Both titles now available on AMAZON!

I Live With My Mommy: new Jewish picture book addresses life with a single mother

Today, I’d like to share with you this interview with Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, the author of the upcoming picture book I Live With My Mommy. This new, groundbreaking picture book for the first time focuses on growing up in a single-parent, Orthodox Jewish home. I learned about the book through its illustrator, the gifted Dena Ackerman, and upon my request, she hooked me up with Tzvia for a bit of Q & A via email.

picture book about Jewish home and divorce

I Live With Mommy, Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein’s new book about growing up with an Orthodox single mother.

RK: What led you to write about children living with a single mother?

TEK: Over 30 years ago I got divorced. At that time it was — or at least seemed to be — very rare [in the Orthodox community]. Walking my (approximately) 4-year-old daughter home from gan (nursery school) with her friend, I overheard her explaining to her friend: “No, my abba (daddy) didn’t die. They got ‘vorced.”

Continue reading

How Jewish do you sound? Learning the lingo as you learn the ropes

I promised a full-length review of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism by Sarah Bunin Benor (Rutger’s University Press 2012)  a while back, but I (embarrassing to admit!) lost the book before I completed it! (Yes, I feel guilty.)

becoming frum

Becoming Frum, recent winner of the Rohr Prize

Thank G-d, the book re-emerged from the piles on my desk recently, and I finally completed it over the weekend, allowing me to at long-last fulfill my promise to review this book, which recently won the 2013 Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature

I first became acquainted with the work of Sarah Bunin Benor when she looked for volunteers to complete an online survey of language use among Jewish Americans several years back. When Becoming Frum came out a year ago, I was even more interested, partly because of my sociolinguistics coursework as part of my graduate-level anthropology program, partly because of my own status as a “BT” (someone who “returned” to Orthodox Jewish observance as an adult).

Becoming Frum draws on Benor’s extensive research among both “black hat” and “modern” Orthodox communities. Continue reading

In the Courtyard of the Novelist: An interview with Ruchama King Feuerman

I’ve got a treat here today: an interview (conducted via email) with award-winning author, Ruchama King Feuerman. Her latest book, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, just came out in September as an ebook. Recently, she signed a contract to expand the release to paperback. I became acquainted with Ruchama through Tablet Magazine online, where both of us have published essays. She was gracious enough to send me a copy of her new book and even more gracious to answer a few questions the novel left me with.

R.K. – In your first book, Seven Blessings, the central figure is a very strong female character. In this new book, you primarily follow two male, unmarried characters. What was that like for you as a married woman?

new book from Ruchama King Feuerman

In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, now out from NYRB LIT

R.K.F.I prefer writing from the male point of view. This way I don’t worry about slippage, about parts of  my personality leaking into my characters, it’s just cleaner — what’s me is me, and what’s them is them.  I feel much freer to invent and have fun when I write as a man.  I do tend to prefer singles maybe because they are inherently dramatic. Continue reading